Falling Away

Chapter One: life is better than we expected

A/N: Okay. So, I don't really know why I'm posting this when I should be working on Crackhead in Confusion. But, I can be very impatient and this seemed like an interesting fic, so I decided to go ahead and post the first chapter. (I had originally wanted to finish the fic but it's going to be long so now I guess I'll do what I usually do: post as I go). The updates for this story will be somewhat slow because I do have the other story to work on. Anyway, please review with your comments! =)

Disclaimer: Meg Cabot owns a few of the characters but most were made up by me.


The familiar lights and buildings clouded her mind. But it was no longer a dream. Princess Amelia was finally back in her birthplace: New York. From 37,000 feet in the air, she began to reminiscence about her childhood and her teenage years. She hadn't been in Manhattan for so long and now, she was finally home.

"Ladies and gentleman," said the pilot over the speaker. "Please let me be the first to welcome you to New York City." Mia kept her hands folded neatly in her lap as she looked out of the window. The plane slowly landed and she suddenly felt thrilled that in a matter of moments, she would see her mother and stepfather for the first time in four years. Mia hadn't been in Manhattan ever since she left when she was eighteen, to attend a French university. And that was where she had resided until this moment.

"Amelia," Grandmere said in her raspy, aged voice. "Are you absolutely positive that you do not wish to stay at the Plaza with me instead of gallivanting around Manhattan with Adam while living in your mother and stepfather's loft?"

"Yes, I think that the loft is perfectly acceptable," Mia said, her eyes not on Grandmere but her good friend, Adam. He had inquired if he could join Mia in her trip to Manhattan, seeing as he had been planning to travel back to America, where he had been born and raised for the first seven years of his life (though he was born in California, not New York). Adam loved to travel but had sadly not been to his home continent since he was ten. "And as for Adam, I already asked Mom and Frank if he could stay in the loft as well and they happily obliged." Adam was asleep with his headphones still on so Mia felt perfectly comfortable talking about him. He looked so adorable when he was sleeping. And, thankfully, he showed no signs that he snored.

Mia was secretly thrilled that Adam was staying with her at the loft. She had been infatuated with him for over a year now, ever since they met at Mia's alma mater (but, of course, when she had still been attending the school). They both took the same Literature class and soon bonded over that.

He wasn't a royal but Grandmere was quick to approve of Adam. "He is, after all, the son of one of the wealthiest men in Europe." Mia found Adam Carrick to be one of the most amazing men she had ever known.

"You may know unbuckle your seat belts and retrieve your luggage from the overhead compartments." Lars stood up and retrieved the carry-on bags from the compartments. Even after eight years, Lars was still Mia's bodyguard. But he had finally settled down with one wife, a super model simply known as Natalie.

"Thank you, Lars," Mia said gratefully as she rose from her seat. She walked over to Adam, who was still sleeping. She gently shook his arm. She whispered into his ear, "Hey, Adam…We're here…" A few seconds later, Adam's bright green eyes slowly opened and he grinned up at Mia.

"We're in Manhattan?" Adam said, rubbing his eyes. He put his Walkman into the backpack he had brought onboard. Mia moved out of the way so Adam could get out of his seat. Grandmere watched this and sniffed, walking off of the plane with Lars trailing after her with all of their bags.

"Yeah," Mia said simply, grinning at Adam. "We're here…We're finally here. You have to meet my mom and Frank. Oh, and Rocky and Fat Louie!"

"Fat Louie?" Adam said, stifling a chuckle. Mia's cheeks turned pink.

"My cat," Mia said, turning redder. But then she said very seriously, "I love him more than anything in the world."

"Then, I'm happy that I'll have the opportunity to be in the presence of…Fat Louie," Adam said just as seriously, looking into Mia's gray eyes as he stood up. He zipped his backpack and slung it over his shoulder.

"So, uh, shall we get off now?"



"Rocky! It's so great to see you again!" Mia exclaimed, receiving a giant bear hug from her seven-year-old brother. She held onto him for a minute before she let go. She rose from her knees and hugged her mom and then her stepfather. "I missed you guys so much, too."

"Mia, I can't believe we've gone so long without seeing each other," Helen Thermopolis said, holding back her tears. "We missed you so much here…It just wasn't the same after you left for Genovia…" Tears started streaming down Helen's face as she held onto Mia, not willing to let go.

Not again.

"Helen, you can let go now," Frank said, smiling warmly. "But Mia, we truly did miss you around the loft. And we're so glad that you're back." Adam stood awkwardly by the side, watching them all take part in one of those personal family moments. He didn't want to intrude. After Mia quickly hugged Frank, she walked back to Adam.

"Mom, Frank, Rocky," Mia said, now looking at Adam. "This is Adam…my friend that I met last year at school. Adam, this is my mom, Helen Thermopolis. That's Frank Gianini, my stepfather. And the little guy--" Mia smiled down at Rocky—"is my brother, Rocky. He's seven now."

"Hey! I'm not little!" Rocky said indignantly, but smiling all the same. Adam crouched down in front of Rocky.

"Whoa, dude, you're big for a seven-year-old," Adam said, grinning broadly, all of his bright white teeth exposed.

"See, Mia! Even your boyfriend thinks I'm big!" Rocky said, a small smirk on his face. Mia's face grew hot at the mention of Adam as her boyfriend. Because he wasn't. Not that Mia didn't want him to be, of course.

"Rocky, Adam's just my friend…who, well, yes, happens to be a boy," Mia said almost nervously. Adam rose up and turned to Mia with a knowing smile. Mia suddenly felt nervous, being looked at by Adam's bright, bright green eyes.

"So, I suppose you'll be wanting to stay in your room, Mia?" Frank asked.

"Yeah, I haven't been in there for ages!" Mia said. "And I miss—Fat Louie!" Right at that moment, the one thing she loved more than anyone or anything in the world came out of her old room, though rather slowly.

"Have you guys been following the manual?"

"Religiously," Helen said. Mia took hold of Fat Louie and hugged him tightly. He had grown considerably lighter and his fur was slowly graying.

"So, this is the famous Fat Louie," Adam said, reaching out to stroke Fat Louie. Surprisingly, Fat Louie wasn't afraid of Adam. In fact, he looked like he rather enjoyed being petted by him.

"So, Mia, do you want to get settled in?" Helen inquired. "And, Adam, let Frank take your bags to the guest room. It's right by Mia's."

"Okay, thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Thermopolis," Adam said kindly.

"It's Mr. Gianni and Ms. Thermopolis," Helen corrected.

"Oh. Uh, okay."


"Mia! There's someone here to see you!"

Mia packed the last of her clothes into her dresser. She looked into her mirror and quickly brushed away a flyaway. Mia hurried out of her room, her gray eyes filled with curiosity. She wondered who it could be…

"So nice of you to keep in touch for these last three years, Mia," said the familiar voice of Mia's good friend, Lilly Moscovitz. Their friendship hadn't exactly been the same since freshman year, when a string of incidents had happened, resulting in a globe falling upon Lilly's ex-boyfriend's head and Tina Hakim Baba and Boris Pelkowski becoming a couple.

Mia felt her throat tighten as she struggled to speak. "L-Lilly…it's so nice to see you…"

"I'm sure it is," Lilly said, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "So."

"I'm so, so sorry, Lilly," Mia said in an almost pleading tone. "I just…things were so…"

"I'm sure that whatever excuse you have doesn't make up for the fact that you haven't bothered to call or write in over a year," Lilly said scathingly, trying her hardest to be mad at Mia. But she couldn't be.

"I can't think of what to say, Lilly," Mia said, her eyes lowered. "I…I've just been so preoccupied and Grandmere's been putting so much pressure on me, I was struggling to get through one of my classes…I've just been so overwhelmed. And I truly am sorry…"

Lilly didn't respond. She looked past Mia.

"Um, Mia…do you know where the newspaper is?" Adam asked from behind her. Mia turned around and nodded.

"It should be in the kitchen," Mia said, smiling weakly. "It's just down the hallway to the right. If you're in the room with the oven and the blender, you're there. It's usually by the cappuccino-maker."

"Oh, okay, thanks," Adam said, flashing one of his bright, glowing smiles. Mia felt her heart flutter.

"Who was that?"

"Adam?" Mia said, turning back to Lilly. "Oh, he's just a good friend from the university. We met last year."

"Haven't you even wondered about us, Mia? Don't you care about your friends? Or are you too old for us now?" Lilly said, the slightest hint of sadness to her voice.

"Of course I care! How could you ever think that I don't care?" Mia said defensively.

"If you cared, you would've been at the wedding," Lilly said.

"Wedding? What wedding?"

"Tina and Boris's wedding, of course! Or maybe you were too busy to fly out and share a special day with your friends!" Lilly said nastily.

"Lilly! What is up with you?" Mia said, shocked at her friend's accusations.

"You say you care but you don't," Lilly said in an angry, hushed voice. "You don't care about me, you don't care about Tina, you sure as hell don't care about Michael…"

"Michael?" Mia said. "What does Michael have to do with anything?" Mia was hurt that Lilly brought up Michael. Mia and Michael had broken up back when Mia was a sophomore in high school. He didn't even give her a reason. One day, he just called and said, "It's over." Simple as that.

"Nothing…nothing at all," Lilly hissed. With one last glare at Mia, Lilly barged out of there, slamming the front door behind her. Mia stood alone, trying to fight back her tears. How could her friend be so mean to her? She hadn't forgotten about them! She cared! Of course she cared!

"Guess what?" Adam said, reappearing behind Mia. She didn't dare turn around.

Mia didn't want Adam to see her cry.

A loud sob emitting from her revealed everything.

"Hey, Mia…" Adam said, sounding confused. "Are you crying?"

"N-No," Mia lied unsuccessfully. Adam took hold of her shoulder and gently turned her around.

"Mia, what's wrong? Did something that girl say offend you or something?"

"N-No, of course not," Mia said.

"You're lying," Adam said, wiping away one of her tears. "Your nostrils always flare when you lie."

And before knowing who started what, Mia buried her face into Adam's neck. She wrapped her arms around the back of his neck. Adam was startled but gently stroked her hair with his free hand. The other hand held the newspaper he had wanted to show Mia.

The headline of the Metro section was:


But the headline of the Entertainment section was: